Freed hostages off duty for month, president says
PM Ahmet Davutoğlu (R) kisses the forehead of Turkey's Mosul Consul Özturk Yilmaz (L), as he welcomes the freed hostages on Sept. 20, at Ankara's Esenboğa Airport.President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with the freed Mosul consulate staff in the Çankaya presidential palace on Sept. 21, and said they would be given leave for the next month.
The government followed the issue of the hostages with an eye to considering the sensitivity of the situation and did not get agitated, Erdoğan said, addressing 46 former hostages and their families.
He also thanked the freed hostages for not being "provoked." "I appreciate your patience and solidity,” he said.
“We could have given an immediate favorable response to the international coalition demands. World powers asked for this and that, but we could not have done so because we had our 49 lives [held hostage],” Erdoğan said, in reference to demands that Turkey join the international anti-ISIL coalition.
“Some politicians and media institutions, domestic or foreign, acted irresponsibly, not at all caring for the sensitivity of the situation. We preferred silence for the safety of our staff,” he added, referring to the ban applied on media reporting of the situation in Turkey.